Friday, April 08, 2011

Pia, Paul and All

In case you haven’t picked up this week’s Style (which you should because it has a nice wrap-up of the VCU run to the Final Four), here’s a link to the piece I wrote on the resurrected ComedySportz company. Shows will start in their new location out by West Tower Cinemas the first weekend of May and my son is already bothering me to go out to one.

I’ve been vaguely following casting news about the movie adaptation of “Rock of Ages” but this item caught my eye because this is the role that was supposed to go to Constantine Moroulis who appeared on Broadway and, before that, on American Idol, of course. Which bring me to the pop culture tidbit that I am most focused on this morning: the elimination of Pia from American Idol last night.

I’m only moderately ashamed that I watch American Idol anymore. I started because my kids watched it and now they have moved on and I’m still stuck. I have two justifications: I DVR the show and only listen to the performances since the critiques are seriously lame and the other interviews and puff pieces that fill out the show are annoying and irrelevant. I also skip performances from people I find boring (Stefano, Scotty) meaning that I can watch a 2 hour episode of Idol in about 20 minutes.

My other justification is that so many Idol alums have gone on to Broadway that watching it seems like work-related research to me. Of course Broadway seems like a good place for these people to go because you have to actually be able to sing to perform on Broadway, a talent that seems to be lacking in many contemporary recording artists.

If you haven’t been watching Idol, Pia was one of the few contestants this year who was consistently excellent. Her song choice was a little stodgy and her personality a little plastic. But her voice was rock solid; she was one of the only performers that I always listened to while fast-forwarding through many others. And last night she left the show with 8 others still in contention, only 1 or 2 of whom have the vocal ability that she has. Randy used to be fond of saying “this is a singing competition” (maybe he still does; I’m just not listening) but it clearly is not anymore. An overwhelming number of the voters are teenage girls and they seem to be voting on the basis of cute, versus talent. That was clearly the case last season and Pia’s ouster confirms it for this season.

So, as disappointed as I am that I won’t be hearing her on the show anymore, now I can look forward to her showing up on stage in about 2 years. The question is what show will work best for her. I’ll be mulling that one over for the next few weeks.

Some people have said they think Paul on Idol looks like me, which maybe I can see but you’d have to put about 15-20 years on the guy to really see if there’s a resemblance. I haven’t really liked him as a singer until this past week, which was the first time he seemed to be singing significantly above a whisper.

Sorry to veer off into Idol country even though there’s plenty to talk about locally. “The Bluest Eye” opens at VCU this weekend, the next production in the burgeoning relationship between Barksdale and VCU. The last partnership, “Legacy of Light,” seemed to work darn well which bodes well for this one. For those who have been waiting since the Fall, “Godot” finally arrived at Henley Street last night. I’m eager to read/hear what people have to say about the production.

And if there’s a lesson to be learned from Idol, don’t stop going to productions just because you think the economy is on the mend and theater seems to be economically secure. You wouldn’t want your favorite company to go the way of Pia due to lack of support, now would you?

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